Hey y’all! Please welcome Jaime Samms on From Top to Bottom Reviews to celebrate her new release Wheels and Heels!
As a teenager, Ira Bedford fled a troubled home life and people who didn’t understand his penchant for feminine things. In the city, he fell in with Cedric, who found him work as an underage stripper. It took him years to escape Cedric’s influence and try to build a life of his own.
Now, he just wants to be left alone to create his art. But Cedric’s on-going harassment means Ira had to drop out of art school, is squatting in a friend’s apartment, and is still relying on his allure as a sexy, skirt-wearing exotic dancer to pay his bills.
Then he meets Jed. Part-time bartender and the apartment building’s superintendent, Jed is just the right mix of strong, kind, and protective to pull Ira out of hiding. He also welcomes Ira into his chosen family at the Hen and Hog Pub. But Ira yearns for more. Still, he doesn’t dare to hope that Jed will want him and his questionable past, his skirts and high heels, his hang-ups, and the profession he seems unable to escape. But Jed will do anything to prove him wrong.
From Image to 1000 Words
I don’t know how it works for other writers. For me, I am a fundamentally visual person. I spend a lot of time on google looking at things so I can write about them.
Jed’s motorbike, for instance, was the subject of many hours of trolling through Harley Davidson pictures and playing on their website, among many other makes and models, to pick just the right bike for Jed to drive. I wanted a picture of his bike firmly in my mind so I could write it. Not that I spent any time at all in the story describing the bike itself. I just needed the visual in my head to firmly sit Jed’s ass on that seat and figure out his relationship with it—because make no mistake. A man who rides a motorcycle in a climate like Toronto has a very definite relationship with it. That is not an accidental choice.
I had to get to know the bike well enough to know what, about that bike, he might need to adjust so Ira could feel safe on it, and what kind of compromises he had available to him to satisfy both their needs.
There are probably around 1000 words in the story about the bike, yet I never actually describe what it looks like, even though I know exactly. (That’s with Ira’s new seat and nice big saddlebags. The rumble of the bike for Jed and the bling for Ira.)
I guess I never describe the bike because what it looks like is less important than how Jed and Ira feel about it, and how they navigate those divergent feelings along the roadmap of their relationship. The bike becomes a vehicle for communication that’s way more important than just a ride to work.
Check out few other things I found on the internet and elsewhere (like in the coat closet by my front door) that helped me write about their feelings and illustrate their burgeoning life together.
Jed’s Mug and ugly sweater
“Jed’s ugly sweater and one of his knitted blankets were tossed over the back of the couch. A messy stack of motorcycle magazines and Jed’s laptop sat on the coffee table next to a half-full coffee cup. The cup itself was a homemade ceramic nightmare with a motorcycle painted in glaze on the side. Dribbles of dried coffee on the painted wood of the table led to where it sat, right next to a coaster. Jed loved that mug, and Ira liked that Jed would have to come to his place in the morning, at least, to have his coffee. Under the table, a pair of Jed’s thick wool socks lay balled into little sock corpses.”
Ira’s shoes are pretty important, too. Again, he’s making a pretty deliberate choice to wear shoes not normally associated with the average guy, so they matter, and so does the fact Jed simply accepts them.
“Oh fuck,” Jed whispered.
“Oh yes,” Ira replied, then, like a wisp of winter fog, he was gone and the truck door slammed in his wake.
Jed was shocked just how well the little imp could navigate the slush and ice in those frightening heels. By the time Jed had locked up, Ira was around the corner of their building. Jed had to place his feet carefully, but he had caught up by the time Ira reached the front door.
Ira’s apartment was a revelation to Jed, who propped his television on a board held up by bricks and slept on a pull-out sofa. It was a lot of fun looking around for inspiration for Ira’s unique design sense, and even more interesting to describe the same space from their very different points of view. (Incidentally, Ira’s wall of sketches came from something very similar, minus the risqué aspect, adorning my own office wall)
Ira pushed open his apartment door. “Can you put those on the table?” Now he had Jed here, he wasn’t going to waste the opportunity. “Don’t worry about the floors,” he added quickly when Jed glanced at his feet in their heavy boots, then at the pale linoleum between the door and the kitchen table.
“Sure.” Jed strode through Ira’s apartment looking completely out of place. He was huge, dressed in dark jeans, black boots, and a thick, wool-lined hoodie in grizzly-bear brown. Ira’s place was, like him, pale, delicate, filled with whimsy, and completely impractical.
“I like what you’ve done here,” Jed said, setting one stack of the text books down gently. The rest seemed forgotten under one arm as he took a thorough look around, gaze gravitating to the cloth covering Ira’s current clay sculpture. Other pieces in various stages of completion lined the shelf above his work space. He’d been going a bit overboard with a dark-fey forest theme the past few weeks, and twisted trees, gnarled flowers, and ethereally beautiful but sinister male near-nudes awaited his attention.
Buckets of carefully labelled oven-bake clay were stacked on another shelf, along with his paints and brushes, all backed by a dazzlingly not-safe-for-kids display of the sketches he intended for the next series.
Ira’s face heated. His space, his pride and joy, suddenly looked like a leftovers sale in the Value Village overflows section—the stuff they kept by the back door because it wasn’t good enough to put on the sale floor—crossed with an amateur porn shop.
Jaime has been writing for various publishers since the fall of 2008, although she’s been writing for herself far longer. Her Stories about men falling in love are the stories that she loves to read, so it seemed to make sense if she was going to write, they would also be the stories she wrote.
These days, you can find plenty of free reading on her website. She also writes for various Publishers.
Spare time, when it can be found rolled into a ball at the back of the dryer or cavorting with the dust bunnies in the corners, is spent crocheting, drawing, gardening (weather permitting, of course, since she is Canadian!), or watching movies. She has a day job, as well, which she loves, and two kids, but thankfully, also a wonderful husband who shoulders more than his fair share of household and child-care responsibilities.
She graduated some time ago from college with a fine arts diploma, and a major in textile arts, which basically qualifies her to draw pictures and create things with string and fabric. One always needs an official slip of paper to fall back on after all . . .
To celebrate the release of Wheels and Heels, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 17, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!